Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff is on a national tour of the country, as part of the new repositioning as a customer company and away from social business. As I reported in February,
“Benioff and company now think of social as a force — principally arising in the ‘consumer’ or personal sphere — so that various user experience motifs are changing how we think about communication. But in the new schematics he offered in his presentation, social is on a par with mobile, touch, and local, not as the end goal of company-wide transformation. The purpose of business is now to become a customer company, by which he means putting the customer at the center of everything, involved as that prime mover in all activities.”
But he doesn’t want to market based on making businesses more social, or at least not anymore.
At the same time, in a schizophrenic way, he is making the Chatter activity stream the center of the Saleforce.com user experience going forward, on the heels of showing off the new Chatter 8.0 mobile-first apps. (I haven’t reviewed these yet because I haven’t gotten a demo yet.)
It’s also interesting to consider this in light of the growing convergence of Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM, Office 365, Sharepoint, and Yammer, where Yammer’s activity stream is going to be the primary UX by 2014.
The activity stream (and open following) has become the dominant user experience of all successful social applications. Maybe Benioff is trying to jump that curve, out to the day where all successful apps are social, and so the word “social” will no longer be necessary. Mark, I think we still have five or so years for that.
Here’s his talk:
Salesforce.com Chief Scientist JP Rangaswami tweeted on this news: “I am *so* excited by this.”